• 82,670 Australian uni students are registered to find a sugar daddy on SeekingArrangement.com. (Pexels)Source: Pexels
With an average university degree costing anywhere between $43,000 and $227,000 in Australia, students are trading in their love life for a debt-free graduation.
By
Jody Phan

24 Feb 2016 - 2:35 PM  UPDATED 24 Feb 2016 - 2:35 PM

More than 80,000 uni students across Australia are receiving financial help, and we’re not talking about the Government’s HECS-HELP scheme. These bright young things are paying their way through school with the help of a sugar daddy.

According to dating website SeekingArrangement, of the 82,000 students signed up, there are currently 300 members from the University of Sydney, with 90 new sign-ups in 2015. The University of Newcastle, Queensland University of Technology, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and University of Queensland round up the site’s top five list of registered sugar babies.

“One guy was very straightforward about what he wanted. He said we’d meet four or five times a month and in exchange he’d give me $3,000."

Touting the site as a “great alternative to accumulating crippling debt” by connecting wealthy men (sugar daddies) to beautiful “young, educated and broke” girls (sugar babies), CEO and founder Brandon Wade says, “Some see this as a controversial solution. In reality, SeekingArrangement.com has helped facilitate connections that will foster the futures of young women, and even some men.”

Bec* is studying at the Sydney Film School and tells SBS she signed up for the website “out of curiosity.” Once registered — the site offers free premium memberships to students who sign up using their uni email —  Bec says she quickly received messages from between 30 and 40 men. “The messages were varied; some requested to see more photos while others got straight to the point about what they could offer,” she said.

“One guy was very straightforward about what he wanted. He said we’d meet four or five times a month and in exchange he’d give me $3,000,” Bec added.

Besides lavish gifts and overseas holidays, sugar babies receive on average $2,600 a month to help cover rent and school fees.

To Bec and other uni students whose “disposable income is $90 a week,” that sort of guaranteed income can make a world of difference and allow them to focus on their studies without financial stress. Though she never met up with any potential sugar daddies, the 21-year-old student says, “It was tempting. Once I saw the figures, I started to seriously consider meeting with these men.”

Besides lavish gifts and overseas holidays, sugar babies receive on average $2,600 a month to help cover rent and school fees.

“For a poor student at uni who hasn’t had an overseas trip in over four years and is limited to three takeout spots for dinner, the money on offer can be life changing,” Bec added.

According to a recent paper published by UNSW School of Taxation and Business Law, there are currently two million debtors under the HECS-HELP scheme alone and debt is estimated to reach a total of $70 billion over the next few years.

*Name has been changed.

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